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Nationally, the cost to install a fence averages around $2,620, with most homeowners spending between $1,577 and $3,700. This data is based on actual project costs as reported by HomeAdvisor members.
Are you thinking about installing a fence or paying a professional to do it for you? If so, there are a few things you need to understand about the process to make an informed decision. Building a fence costs approximately $2,620 for the average installation. Some owners can save as much as $1,000 off that price while the upper price boundary is $4,000. These calculations come from project reports by HomeAdvisor members. When deciding to install a fence, keep in mind that there are many options, including aluminum, chain link, vinyl, wood and wrought iron. Since you are presumably building a fence to provide a combination of privacy and security, you'll want to choose the type of fence that best achieves those goals at an acceptable price. What follows are the factors that will help you make the best decision.
You'll want a solid estimate for your project before you begin the build. There are five major cost considerations:
Parts: You can either acquire some of them yourself or rely on the fence contractor to get them and be charged later. While they will charge a markup fee, they receive discounts that could make the entire process cost-effective for you.
Utilities: You will have to verify the fence doesn't interfere with their services. It's possible the fence could strike underground pipes or wires. Call 811, which exists in every state, notes that not calling could lead to costly repairs on the part of the homeowner.
Grading: There's a chance your costs could be higher for a fence installation if the land is sloped higher because it makes installation more difficult.
Labor: Expect to be charged per linear foot for materials and have labor and materials charged together.
Note that the different materials each have unique installation costs depending upon their build complexity.
Chain-link fences are especially cost-effective.
The install cost of wood fences fluctuates depending upon the type of wood used.
Vinyl is more expensive than wood or chain-link.
Specialty materials such as aluminum and wrought iron cost the most.
Two additional considerations with regard to installation are fence height and property size.
The most popular fence size is six feet. This height provides enough view obstruction that only a small percentage of people can see over it while few pets can hurdle it. Presuming that you choose one of the most popular fence materials, wood or vinyl, you should expect to pay $7 to $19 per linear foot unless you select add-ons such as fancy patterns and ornamentation. Those can raise the price significantly.
Even if you don't hire an installer, you should still evaluate your project as having a set cost per square foot. Also note that if you measure improperly, you may unintentionally schedule a build on a portion of land you don't own. This can lead to legal issues if there is a dispute about property rights. As such, it's critical that you properly measure the size of the property. Any miscalculation will have tremendous financial ramifications, and you also may wind up short on materials, forcing another trip to the store. Consider hiring a land surveyor to measure your land for $300 to $700. Ask to see their measurements for the land as a second form of verification for your own calculations. At this point, you should have a good idea how willing you are to perform the work on your own.
You've probably noted the discrepancy in fence pricing between wood and vinyl. The pricing gap is actually much larger if you use more expensive materials. Here is a breakdown of expected costs for each major material as well as the pros and cons of each one.
Chain-link fences are the perfect choice if you want to install a basic, affordable structure. They also enjoy a long lifespan with minimal maintenance requirements. Plus, if you're handling the project yourself, it's the easiest material to install, making it the best for first-time fence builders. Despite its durability and thrifty cost, there is a major downside to chain-link fencing. It's not aesthetically pleasing. If the curb appeal isn't a problem, there are several options to consider.
Metallic-coated is the most popular because it's the most economical.
Color-coated is simply colored material combined with metallic to make it slightly more attractive.
Estate fencing -- a type of steel fencing -- provides a slightly different design that differentiates it from generic chain-link fences.
A professional will charge $14 to $19 per linear foot for the average metal fence.
As a fencing category, wood is the most difficult to evaluate due to the breadth of options. Most privacy fences employ some form of wood as the primary material. The type of wood chosen directly influences the cost of the project. If you select a more economical option such as cedar, the cost is comparable to chain-link fencing. Still, even this type of wood has differing costs depending upon how the wood is treated.
A basic plank costs as little as $1.50, but one treated red cedar can be as much as $8.
If you want the best looking materials, redwood is your best bet. It costs over double the finest cedar, though. Expect to pay about $17.50 per piece.
Presuming you use cedar, a six-foot wood fence will cost $7 to $15 per linear foot if you install it yourself and roughly double that if a professional handles the job.
Wood fences provide greater security and privacy than chain link fences. However, they require more of a financial investment due to the increased labor and material costs. The durability of wood is also lackluster, though staining or painting it might increase its strength and longevity. Finally, adding a gate to a wood fence is an expensive proposition.
The most common reason for installing a wood fence is privacy. A 6-foot tall fence separates one home and backyard from the home and yard of a neighbor. Wood fences can also add an extra layer of protection for those installing a pool in their yard. Some homeowners use privacy fence as a way to differentiate different spaces in their yards as well. They can create a barrier between a garage and the yard or between a guest house and the yard.
To professionally build a privacy fence, a contractor will spend around 23 hours installing a fence of the average length of 150 linear feet. This equals out to around $30 to $33 per hour in labor costs. While that can add nearly $800 to the total cost of the job, most homeowners will find that paying someone to do the job is easier for them. Contractors can measure the space, purchase the necessary amount of wood and ensure the privacy fence will remain in place for years. Homeowners may also find themselves paying for additional materials. With fence posts, most contractors will ask that the client pay for the posts and the concrete or cement. Fence posts usually cost around $3 to $5, and depending on the size of the yard, the fence might require five or more posts.
Vinyl fencing has a lot of huge benefits, including:
A different look from conventional materials such as wood and metal
Wide variety of color options, meaning you can accentuate your home by matching its colors with the new structure
Easy to clean, generally requiring only a quick hosing to wash away the grime
The reason why more homeowners don't use vinyl is its cost. The materials are $10 to $25 per linear foot, and labor adds another $5 to $8. So, you could pay as much as $33 per linear foot as the cost of having an attractive fence. Vinyl also occasionally becomes brittle during inclement weather. It's not a great option in places that get heavy snowfall.
This is obviously a more expensive metal, but you get what you pay for. It requires little maintenance and is not prone to rust. You can hire a professional to powdercoat the aluminum to add to its weatherized protection. It's also an optimal choice for swimming pool fencing. If you are willing to pay more to get the look you want, aluminum costs $22 to $32 per linear foot and has hefty installation fees to boot.